Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson has announced that debut author Tom Becker has won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize for his novel ‘Darkside’ which is set in a dangerous and unimaginably exciting parallel ‘secret’ London where nightmares walk the streets.
The announcement, made at a central London Awards ceremony today, has realised a life ambition for Tom Becker at an early age. Since Tom learned to hold a pen he wanted to become a writer and now, aged 25, he has both published his first book and won his first prestigious award.
Tom Becker drew inspiration for ‘Darkside’ from fantasy novels, film noirs such as ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ and ‘The Big Sleep’, and also from a fascination with the seamier side of Victorian history. Tom has always held a fascination with fantasy novels spending many a childhood day curled up in an armchair reading Brian Jacques and he further developed his interest for supernatural adventures whilst studying history at Oxford where he found himself intrigued by the otherworldly atmosphere of the University library where he used to spend long days reading.
Author Tom Becker said “It's an incredible feeling to have won the Waterstones' Children's Book Prize, and I hope that this means that readers have enjoyed the strange and other-worldly pleasures of ‘Darkside’. Given the calibre of the other books on the shortlist, I didn't think I stood a chance of winning, and it's amazing to receive such a prestigious award at the very beginning of my writing career.”
About the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize
The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize is in its third year and was created to uncover hidden talent in children’s writing. Open to authors who have written three or less books, the award is the only one where publishers, booksellers and the public join forces to recommend their book to the panel of judges. Over 4,000 booksellers get involved, together with local schools and reading groups, to discuss and pick their favourite book within three categories: 5-8, 9-12 and Teenage.
The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2007 Short List
‘Jake Cake: The Werewolf Teacher’ by Michael Broad
‘The Dragon Detective Agency: Case of the Missing Cats’ by Gareth Jones
‘Darkside’ by Tom Becker
‘Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times’ by L. Brittney
‘Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools’ by Philip Caveney
‘The Black Book of Secrets’ by F.E. Higgins
‘The Thing With Finn’ by Tom Kelly
‘Smugglers’ by Christopher Russell
‘A Swift Pure Cry’ by Siobhan Dowd
‘Bunker 10’ by J.A. Henderson